Find a therapist
Therapy 101

How to Deal with a Sexless Marriage (as a Woman)

Thanks! You've been added.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Unsubscribe anytime.

How to Deal with a Sexless Marriage (as a Woman)

Browse all therapists
Book with
Written by 
First Session Editorial Team
Last updated: 
November 21, 2023
Professionally Verified by 

In a sexless marriage, the lack of physical intimacy can take a toll on both partners, leading to feelings of frustration, isolation, and even low self-esteem. 

A poll conducted by Global News in Canada revealed that nearly one in five Canadians, or 19%, report having little to no sexual activity with their partners. This trend peaks in Alberta with 27% and is least prevalent in Quebec at 10%. 

While it is a common assumption that men are the ones who typically struggle with a lack of sex, studies suggest that men and women's sexual desire levels are more similar than different. A 2011 study by ScienceDaily found that while men may think about sex more often than women do, they also think about other biological needs, such as eating and sleep, more frequently than women do. The difference between men and women in their average number of daily thoughts about sex wasn't considered any larger than the gender differences between thoughts about sleep or thoughts about food. The study suggests that the stereotype that men think about sex nearly constantly and much more often than women do is not supported by research.

It is important to recognize that women also experience the emotional impact of a sexless marriage. It's crucial for women in this situation to understand the concept of a sexless marriage and the various ways they can navigate this challenging situation, while also prioritizing their own emotional well-being.

Understanding the Concept of a “Sexless Marriage”

The term "sexless marriage" refers to a marital relationship in which the frequency of sexual activity is significantly lower than what the couple desires. While there is no universally agreed-upon definition, a sexless marriage is typically referred to as one where the couple engages in sexual activity less than 10 times per year. For women, the emotional impact of a sexless marriage can manifest in various ways, ranging from feelings of rejection and inadequacy to a decrease in overall relationship satisfaction.

Defining a Sexless Marriage

When considering whether your marriage is sexless, it is important to reflect on your own expectations and desires. Every relationship is unique, and what may be considered a sexless marriage for one couple may be perfectly acceptable to another. Understanding the definition of a sexless marriage is a crucial first step in addressing the challenges you may face.

It is worth noting that the concept of a sexless marriage can be subjective. What one person may consider a lack of sexual activity, another may perceive as a normal level of intimacy. Factors such as age, health, and personal preferences can all influence how individuals perceive their sexual relationship within a marriage.

Common Causes of a Sexless Marriage

Sexual intimacy can be affected by a multitude of factors, including physical and emotional issues. For some couples, a sexless marriage can be attributed to medical conditions, hormonal imbalances, or the side effects of certain medications. Stress, fatigue, and relationship dissatisfaction can also play a significant role in diminishing sexual desire. It is important to identify the underlying causes of a sexless marriage in order to address them effectively.

In addition to physical factors, psychological and emotional factors can contribute to a sexless marriage. Past traumas, unresolved conflicts, and communication barriers can all impact a couple's sexual relationship. It is essential for couples to engage in open and honest conversations to explore these underlying issues and work towards finding solutions together.

The Emotional Impact of a Sexless Marriage

A sexless marriage can have a profound impact on a woman's emotional well-being. Feelings of loneliness, rejection, and resentment may arise, and these emotions can erode the intimacy and connection between partners over time. It is crucial for women in sexless marriages to acknowledge these emotions and find healthy ways to address and express them.

Furthermore, the emotional impact of a sexless marriage can extend beyond the individual. It can affect the overall dynamics of the relationship, leading to increased tension, decreased communication, and a sense of distance between partners. It is important for both individuals to recognize the emotional toll a sexless marriage can have and actively work towards rebuilding intimacy and connection.

Seeking professional help, such as couples therapy or sex therapy, can be beneficial in navigating the emotional challenges of a sexless marriage. These therapeutic interventions can provide a safe and supportive space for couples to explore their desires, address underlying issues, and develop strategies to enhance their sexual relationship.

In conclusion, understanding the concept of a sexless marriage involves recognizing the subjective nature of sexual intimacy within a relationship, identifying the potential causes, and acknowledging the emotional impact it can have on individuals and the relationship as a whole. By addressing these factors and seeking appropriate support, couples can work towards rebuilding intimacy and creating a fulfilling and satisfying sexual relationship.

Communicating Effectively with Your Partner

One of the most important aspects of dealing with a sexless marriage is open and honest communication with your partner. It is essential to express your feelings, concerns, and desires in a constructive and non-confrontational manner.

Importance of Open Dialogue

Open dialogue creates a safe space for both partners to express their needs and concerns. By discussing your feelings openly, you can facilitate a deeper understanding of each other's perspectives and work towards finding a solution together.

Effective communication is the foundation of any successful relationship. When it comes to a sexless marriage, it becomes even more crucial. It is through open dialogue that you can bridge the gap between you and your partner, creating an environment where both of you feel comfortable expressing your emotions and desires.

By engaging in open dialogue, you can establish trust and strengthen the emotional connection between you and your partner. It allows you to share your thoughts, fears, and hopes, creating a deeper level of intimacy that can help reignite the spark in your relationship.

Tips for Constructive Conversations

When discussing sensitive topics such as intimacy, it is crucial to approach the conversation with empathy and understanding. Use "I" statements to express your emotions and avoid placing blame on your partner. Active listening, patience, and a willingness to compromise are key components of effective communication.

Constructive conversations require both partners to actively participate and listen to each other. It is important to create a safe and non-judgmental space where both of you can express your thoughts and feelings without fear of criticism or rejection.

During these conversations, it is essential to focus on understanding your partner's perspective. By actively listening and acknowledging their feelings, you can show empathy and validate their experiences. This will foster a sense of trust and openness, making it easier to find common ground and work towards a resolution.

Dealing with Resistance or Denial

In some cases, your partner may be unaware of the extent of your frustration or may hesitate to address the issue head-on. It is important to approach these situations with sensitivity and patience. Encourage your partner to express their thoughts and concerns and try to find common ground that allows for open exploration and mutual growth.

Dealing with resistance or denial can be challenging, but it is crucial to approach the situation with compassion and understanding. It is possible that your partner may have their own fears or insecurities that are preventing them from addressing the issue. By creating a safe and non-threatening environment, you can encourage them to open up and share their thoughts.

Remember, change takes time, and it is essential to be patient with your partner as they navigate their own emotions and concerns. By working together and supporting each other, you can overcome obstacles and find a path towards a more fulfilling and intimate relationship.

Seeking Professional Help

While open communication can go a long way in addressing the challenges of a sexless marriage, there may be instances where seeking professional help is necessary. A qualified therapist or counsellor can provide guidance and support tailored to your unique circumstances.

When to Consider Therapy and Choosing the Right Therapist

If the challenges and emotional strain of a sexless marriage persist despite your best efforts, it may be beneficial to seek the assistance of a therapist or counselor. Therapy can help explore deeper issues, improve communication, and provide tools for navigating the complexities of a sexless marriage.

When selecting a therapist or counsellor, it is essential to find someone who is experienced in dealing with relationship and sexual issues. Look for professionals who are sensitive to your needs and create an environment of trust and understanding. Evaluating their expertise and qualifications can help ensure that you find the right fit for your unique circumstances.

What to Expect from Sex Therapy

Sex therapy can be a valuable resource in addressing the challenges of a sexless marriage. It focuses on improving communication, exploring intimacy-related issues, and rediscovering sexual desire. Through individual and/or couples therapy sessions, sex therapists can help you develop strategies to enhance intimacy and overcome obstacles in your relationship.

Self-Care and Emotional Well-being

In the midst of dealing with a sexless marriage, it is crucial to prioritize your own emotional well-being. Practicing self-care can help you maintain your self-esteem, cope with stress, and promote positive emotional health.

Maintaining Self-esteem and Confidence

A sexless marriage can sometimes lead to feelings of inadequacy or a decrease in self-esteem. It is important to remind yourself that your self-worth is not solely tied to your sex life. Engage in activities that make you feel confident and embrace your individuality.

Coping Strategies for Stress and Frustration

Stress and frustration are natural responses to the challenges of a sexless marriage. Engaging in stress-reducing activities such as exercise, meditation, or hobbies can help alleviate tension and promote overall emotional well-being.

The Role of Physical Health and Exercise

Physical health plays a crucial role in overall well-being, including sexual health. Regular exercise can boost self-confidence, reduce stress, and improve overall physical and mental well-being. Prioritize activities that promote both physical and emotional wellness.

In conclusion, navigating a sexless marriage as a woman can be emotionally challenging, but it is essential to address the issues openly and honestly. By understanding the concept of a sexless marriage, communicating effectively with your partner, seeking professional help when needed, and prioritizing self-care, you can work towards a more fulfilling and satisfying relationship.

About the author
First Session Editorial Team

The First Session Editorial Team, composed of seasoned researchers, writers, editors, and therapists, focuses on providing content that helps​ Canadians find the right therapist.

First Session

First Session exists to help you find the right therapist for you so you can get help now.

More about First Session
Find the right therapist for you.
Find a therapist
Discover more about